Sunday, June 22, 2014

PBS version of PolyCultures now available FREE online!

From 2008 to 2010 I had the good fortune to collaborate with Tom Kondilas of LESS Productions and Brad Masi of the New Agrarian Center on a documentary movie about the remarkable local food movement around Cleveland, Ohio.

To my knowledge PolyCultures is the first and perhaps only documentary that takes a comprehensive look at a single region's local food system and the mix of communities involved in creating it.  It features tours of area farms, innovative programs in urban areas, and commentary from national experts like Michael Pollan, David Orr, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

The 100-minute director's cut of PolyCultures: Food Where We Live debuted in March 2009 to sold-out crowds at the 33rd Cleveland International Film Festival.  DVDs followed a few months later - 5 years ago, today, in fact.

The following year we produced a half-as-long version of PolyCultures so WVIZ/PBS ideastream could televise it right before the national PBS premiere of Food Inc.

Now we're celebrating the 5-year anniversary and making that version freely available to all!

53-min. PBS version

Also, we cut the PBS version into two parts - one for those most interested in solutions to urban food deserts (which premiered at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Fest in 2010)...

Part 1 of 2: Fresh Food in the City of Cleveland

...and another for those looking to learn more about the ecological alternatives to our country's industrial food system.

Part 2 of 2: Ecological Agriculture in Northeast Ohio

If you like what you see and are interested in the original 100-minute cut, you can still purchase that on DVD for educational, library, or personal use by clicking here.  Also, there you can contact LESS Productions if you have interest in publicly screening any of the shorter cuts.

Certainly local food around Cleveland has evolved greatly since PolyCultures was filmed in 2007 and 2008, but having recently re-watched it I feel the overarching themes ring true and may resonate beyond the local food movement itself.  It's all about being industrious and living in tune with nature - with some good tunes playing in the background, naturally!

Whatever your level of interest in local food, I hope you'll be interested to give PolyCultures a watch... and to let others know what you think in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Filmmaker David Pearl Presents
April 28th at 7:30p
Wild Willow Farm in San Diego

More Info          PDF Flyer

I'm happy to announce the San Diego Premiere of PolyCultures: Food Where We Live.  This will be a very special screening!  It's the kick-off to this year's Cultivating Food Justice week.  It's also the 15th event in "Food for Thought," San Diego Roots' film series - and the first to be introduced by one of the filmmakers.

It's an honor to be involved in this project - for those reasons, and also because it's a homecoming of sorts for me.  I lived in San Diego for five years (until 2008), at first as a line cook and then developing a strong interest in sustainable agriculture while doing a tech job downtown.  Acting on that interest, I spent the next three years in my hometown Cleveland, first collaborating with Director Tom Kondilas and Executive Producer Brad Masi to make this documentary, and later coordinating the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.  Cleveland will always be in my heart, but it feels great to be back in California and seeing some of the many inspiring projects happening out here through that lens (so to speak).

If you're in San Diego, I hope you'll consider joining us April 28th at Wild Willow Farm.  This will be about the 20th time I've presented PolyCultures, and the first time I've screened it on a farm.  Wood-fired pizza, good people, warm spring weather (hopefully!), localism in action - what more could you want?

For details click here.  For clips and trailers, see the post right below...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spreading the seeds further...

If you haven't seen it before - and especially if you have - I encourage you to sit back and enjoy this movie trailer / music video put together by PolyCultures director Tom Kondilas.  It's an achingly good song, and from the images and lyrics a distinct narrative arc emerges:

PolyCultures has spread the message of the "seamless web of sustainability" further than we could have predicted:

It's been viewed by over 10,000 - many of whom were inspired to do a little more (or a lot more!) to create an all-around healthier food system.

I think it's easy enough to see why when you watch this trailer highlighting the "problem > solution > action" theme of PolyCultures:

By the way, the music at the start there is gritty on purpose, just like we intentionally left in the endearing intro to the Harold Hartzler section everyone seems to love best:

A lot of people who support that kind of sustainably-produced food have the means to do so and an increasing number of options available.  But how many people in poverty-stricken areas with limited food access could use to see the poignant message that in many locations the food system may be convenient but is actually pretty messed up... and to also see efforts happening around them that could soon be reversing that trend...

How many college libraries out there could put a couple copies of the DVD in circulation, giving many different types of courses an engaging teaching aid...?  How many public libraries could lend a copy to community members who might be inspired to join a garden or host a CSA program...?

We want more people who see these clips or have caught a public screening to get a home-use copy and later lend it to friends... or maybe even think about setting up their own public screening.

Here are some ideas on how you might screen it.  Since writing that last July it's been on PBS, sold a number of public-use copies, been reviewed in the Ethicurean, and been screened over a dozen times across the country.

But forget the accolades - what could be more compelling than watching the first few minutes for free and deciding if you want to see the rest...?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two Big PolyCultures Screenings This Spring

After a long and somewhat trying winter, it seems PolyCultures is back on the scene.  

Wednesday April 21 at 8p PolyCultures is slated to play before Food Inc. on WVIZ PBS Cleveland!  Though some clips of the movie have been seen on television before this will be the official broadcast premiere of the latest 54-minute version of the movie (it's probably the best version:)!  

Here's WVIZ's link for that.

You can also hear Maurice Small on 90.3's Around Noon Tuesday April 20th, check this link for that.

Michael Carissimi and Tom Kondilas also worked on a new 30 second promo that will be aired on PBS for the week preceding the show.

Whole Foods is also sponsoring a theatrical screening as part of its Let's Retake Our Plates Film Series.  The 54-minute cut will play on April 30 at about ~7:00p for FREE at Lakewood Public Library - 15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, OH.  Here's a Plain Dealer article about the series written by Kaye Spector.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sprouting Through the Snow: A Batch of Mid-Winter Screenings

I recently experienced an absolutely fantastic festival: Wild & Scenic. It takes place each year in the former gold mining town of Nevada City, California - and it's become the largest environmental film fest in the US. So I had the chance to see over a dozen feature-length and short films about topics ranging from the pending world-wide shortage of fresh water, climbing stunning peaks in Namibia, and mushrooms.

I also had the opportunity to present PolyCultures in two historic venues...

...and give an interview that was streamed live and can be watched in its entirety here - about the movie and, more importantly, the movement in Northeast Ohio to provide impoverished neighborhoods with better food choices.

And all of this took place amid friendly folks strolling through the town from one venue to another, stopping here and there at unique restaurants and quaint gift shops. Doesn't get much better than Wild & Scenic!

While out in California, we received word that PolyCultures is an Official Selection of the Phangan Film Festival being held this February in Thailand. We're also part of the Frozen River Film Festival up in Minnesota, playing next weekend. On top of that, PolyCultures will be part of Case Western Reserve University Film Society's 6th Annual Local Filmmaker’s Night on Saturday, February 6th - great to be doing more with Tom's and my alma mater.

So, while we semi-hibernate on the distribution this winter, it's great to see that there's still interest in the documentary near and far. We have some big plans in the works for a spring-time relaunch... to coincide with the new growing season, of course.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dec. 10th screening at Rocky River Nature Center -- UPDATE!! Big River added to the bill

That's a pic I snapped just outside the Rocky River Nature Center while attending their FREE four-part Bringing Nature Home Food Film Fest in October, where we shared trailers from PolyCultures and participated in after-film discussions. The festival has been extended to include PolyCultures on Thursday, December 10th from 7-9 PM!

Also, If you've seen PolyCultures, chances are you've seen or at least heard about King Corn. A couple months ago I had the good fortune to bump into and then chat with one of the filmmakers behind King Corn. This has led to the dual bill of their new project Big River alongside the freshly-released PBS cut of PolyCultures!

Rocky River Nature Center is located at 24000 Valley Parkway, between Cedar Point Road and Shepard Lane in North Olmsted. For more information, call 440-734-6660.